Pumpkin Infestation - A Spooky Story
3 Spooky Stories to get ready for Halloween!
Ghosts, fearsome creatures, heart-pumping action, and more!
Everyone 8+ will enjoy these fun short stories (Caution: they include scary content, think on the lines of campfire stories)
by: E. J. Nowicki
Fall decorations covered the porches on the entire street. Misty wished there were even more to see. It was her favorite time of year. She loved the colored leaves, comfy sweaters, and… everything.
Not only was the air crisp, but Halloween was around the corner—well, another week away. She had her black cat outfit ready, including black paint for whiskers on her cheeks.
Misty stuck her hand in the bag of fake spiderwebs and contemplated her cobweb strategy. She’d put them on the bushes lining the porch, spooky! Some under the fake plastic pumpkins on her right. There was a white one, a green one, and an orange.
She put down the bag of cobwebs and pulled a chocolate bar from her pocket. Her mom liked to prepare early, which meant they already had the Halloween candy bought and ready. It also meant she got a few pieces, if she asked nicely. No complaints there!
She had her fingers on the wrapper—
RICKTTTT! A high-pitched trilling sound startled her.
“What?” Misty shoved the candy back into her pocket. She hunched to hear better.
It was coming from her left. From the first of the three pumpkins she and her parents had picked at the pumpkin patch. She was torn between moving closer to investigate and running away. She’d never heard a sound like that.
The pumpkin rocked forward and then settled upright.
Something was inside the pumpkin!
“Oh! Umm… I’ll get you out,” she declared. It must be a mouse or a squirrel… although she’d never heard them make that noise before. She’d also never heard a mouse or squirrel stuck in a pumpkin before. Maybe it was a perfectly normal noise.
RICKTTT KIRRRCTT TIRRRCK.
“Okay!” she said, hoping her voice would soothe the poor creature. “There must be a hole.”
The pumpkin teetered forward again. Then back.
She carefully circled the pumpkin. It was set on the edge of the porch, so she walked around the front of it and then up on the cement to see behind. There wasn’t any hole.
RICKTTTT RICKTTTTTTTTTTTTTT TIRRRRKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK
“I know, I know, but I don’t see a hole! How did you get in there?” she fretted. The only way to get it out would be to cut the pumpkin open. She couldn’t do that alone. “I’ll be back, I have to get help.”
She reached for the front door. Her dad was home, he’d help cut the top off—they’d have to do that anyway to clean the pumpkin out for carving.
Before she took two steps the loudest, most high-pitched trill of a sound rang through the air, KRICTTTTTTTT.
Something flew through the side of the pumpkin—straight through! There was no hole, no opening! It simply came right out, leaving the pumpkin unharmed.
It was the size of a tennis ball. And as round, too. Also, slightly fuzzy. But it was bright orange, not green, and had a little ball of a head on top with long arms. Four fingers twitched on each hand. Its ears were big and bat-like, a muddy orange-brown that matched its stubby tail that continuously shook.
“RICKTTTT.” Its small mouth opened and then closed.
“Whoa,” Misty froze. She didn’t want to scare it away. “What are you?”
“TIRRRRRK!” it said with purpose.
“I see…” she answered as if she understood. She wished she had her mom’s phone with her to take a picture. She wasn’t allowed to get her own for another two years. No one was going to believe this. “You’re adorable!” she said softly, bending to get a better look.
RETTTTATTTT, a slightly lower trill came from the pumpkin. Misty barely had time to focus when another blur shot out from the side.
A second creature, exactly the same except a little smaller, sat next to the first. Or maybe it was standing. She couldn’t tell.
The pair reminded her of her extra fluffy stuffed animals. The only difference was the smell. The creatures had a distinct wet earth and slightly moldy aroma. They had been stuck in a pumpkin, though, so there was no way they were going to be smelling like daisies.
“Look at both of you—” she started but the creatures turned to one another. Their faces took on a sharp edge, a more hooked nose, and beady eyes. A sense of unease settled on Misty’s shoulders.
Whatever they were, they weren’t pets. They were wild animals.
The first creature snapped its fingers. A shower of orange sparks shot through the air. They came right at her! Misty shrieked and jumped to the side.
The sparks fell to the ground like water from a hose, except they didn’t seep into the ground. They stayed on top in little sparkling balls of orange light.
Misty lowered her hands from her chest and laughed. They weren’t anything to be scared of, they—
The sparkling balls started to move. They jumped and bounced like fleas, creeping to the side of the sidewalk. In one big mass, they blanketed an entire red bush. It was a small bush, but still. The mound of orange sparks collapsed to the ground. They oozed back to the sidewalk, leaving behind… nothing! The bush was gone, in its place, a raw piece of garden with the soil all turned up and bumpy!
Impossible! Misty stared harder but the bush didn’t come back. The orange sparks aimed at their next target, a large orange flower pot. They were going to destroy that too!
Both puffy orange creatures snapped again. More sparks rained down. The new sparks joined the others, adding to the shifting mass.
“DAD!” Misty screamed. This was way beyond her. What was she supposed to do?
“RICKTTTTTTT! REEETAAATT!” the orange creatures shrieked. They threw themselves forward, into a whizzing blur of orange—straight back into the pumpkin. It rocked violently.
“Misty!” Her dad jumped through the front door, briefly glancing at her before surveying the yard. He had his weekend sweatpants on and still had some chip crumbs on his shirt. Sundays were his lounging days. His eyes took in the heaving orange sparks. “What are those? Ants?”
“No!” she stammered. “They’re from these creatures that were—are, in this pumpkin!”
“What?” her dad briefly glanced at the pumpkins.
The orange mound collapsed. The flower pot was gone. Her dad gasped. The orange sparks started to move again, all in one writhing mass.
“RICKTTTT!” the creatures shrieked from the pumpkin. They whizzed out again, back to their original spots on the sidewalk.
“What are those?” Misty’s dad pulled her behind him. She poked her head around to keep an eye on everything.
The orange sparks spread out, heading to the porch… right at them! The orange creatures snapped and more sparks shot out, joining the outer edges of the giant glob. Then the creatures whizzed back into the pumpkin.
Her dad grabbed the red and brown wreath from the front door. “I’ll hold that thing off! Get the hose. We’ll see if that stops them!” He flung the wreath and then grabbed a cushion from a nearby chair. “Misty, come back! Knock that pumpkin to the ground! NOW!”
Misty zoned in on the pumpkin on the porch. The creatures were back out, “KRICTTTTT!” Misty raised the pumpkin up as high as she could, it was slippery and her hands didn’t get a good grip. Using all her strength, she threw it off the porch. The pumpkin didn’t go far, but it was good enough. It split open—inside goo oozed out a crack in the side.
“EATTTTRRRTTT!” the creatures shrieked. They snapped and snapped. Orange sparks flew through the air.
Her dad grabbed a wicker chair they had on the porch and threw it at the mass on the ground. They swarmed it like bugs on a sandwich, covering it completely.
The puffy creatures shrieked again and then turned into a whizzing blur. They streaked right at the other pumpkins on the porch! These pumpkins were smaller. Each creature took its own. They rocked back and forth screeching.
“We need to get rid of all the pumpkins,” her dad said, throwing another chair at the mass. The first was gone.
“Got it!” Misty said as her heart pounded in her ears and the world took on an extra bright sheen. She could do this. She could! “What’ll happen if the sparks get to the porch?”
“I don’t know,” her dad said dragging the matching white table to the step. “This will keep them busy for a while!”
The creatures zoomed out of the pumpkins. They snapped and snapped. “ETARRRR! KRITCCCT!”
Misty didn’t waste any time. She hefted the first pumpkin in her arms and threw. Not stopping to see the damage she grabbed the smallest pumpkin, the one she had picked, and with all her might let it loose through the air. It landed with a loud thud.
“RICKTTTT!” the puffy creatures shrieked.
They snapped and more sparks joined the orange mound, covering the white table until nothing showed.
“What now?” Misty asked.
“I’ll get the hose and blast them away! Or maybe the fire extinguisher,” her dad said but before anyone could move the creatures were on the move.
They blurred and dodged straight to the other side of the porch. Misty’s eyes grew round. They were heading to the fake pumpkins her mom had put out.
The smaller creature, who had been the first to move, bounced off the plastic. It rebounded stunned. The second one stopped and snapped angrily.
“They can’t get in the plastic!” Misty exclaimed.
“RICKTTT! KIRRRRT! TRICKKKK!” the first creature shrieked—had it said trick? And then it popped out of existence. Not a piece of fur or anything left behind.
“It’s gone!” her dad said just as confused as she was. “What about the other one?”
“It stopped before going in the pumpkin. It didn’t get tricked…” Misty said slowly. That was it! The creature had been “tricked” into thinking the pumpkins were real. They needed another trick to make the second creature leave. Except… there was nothing they could do.
The orange sparks moved closer.
The sidewalk was disappearing as they moved, leaving nothing but dark dirt in its place.
Trick… or treat!
“This might work!” Misty announced as she dug her hand into her pocket, thanking her mom for giving her a piece of candy. She grabbed the chocolate bar she didn’t have time to eat earlier and chucked it at the second creature.
It hit the orange puffball directly in the chest. The creature blinked. “REATTTT! ETTTTARRRR! TREATTTT!” And it popped away, just like the first.
The yard was quiet. The sparks had disappeared with the second creature. Misty took a deep breath.
Her dad pointed all around. The chairs were back in their usual places, the sidewalk was like it had never been torn up. The bushes and flower pots were as if they had never left. The only damage was to the three real pumpkins Misty had thrown. They were still splattered on the ground.
“That was…” her dad started but a new voice butted in from the doorway.
“What happened there?” her mom said, stepping onto the porch and staring at the destroyed pumpkins.
“Well, dear, they were infested,” her dad said without a hint of humor. But then he gave Misty a wink.
“With what?” her mom asked as her dad lead her inside.
“That’s difficult to say…”
Misty breathed in the crisp air. Were the creatures gone for good… or did they move on to a new pumpkin? The street was quiet and full of decorations. Pumpkins lined every porch.
She picked up the bag of cobwebs she had dropped earlier and softly said, “Trick or treat.”
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